Thursday, April 26, 2007

Hoyt Park - Forest Path

Another charming path through the woods. Madison is an officially declared Tree City. I'm not sure what one needs to do to attain "Tree City" standing, but I have no doubt Madison qualifies. The parts of the city that were not originally wetlands (that's right, a large portion of the city is built on a drained swamp) were forests. It is part of what makes Madison beautiful - plenty of trees.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Hoyt Park Fireplaces

Hoyt Park has fireplaces! We have used them to cook out, but I bet it would be nice to sit around a fire on a crisp fall evening.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The Secret Dell - Hoyt Park

Okay, I don't know how secret it really is, but when you're in this section of the park, you can completely forget you are in a city of roughly 300,000 people (in the metro area). It is serene and very romantic. I know I took this picture with a green filter, which makes the leaves pop.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Hoyt Park Trail to the Cliffs

These steps are part of the trail that goes to the hidden dell in the park. I have walked these steps many a time. They lead from an overlook with one of the best views in the city. I used a filter, but for the life of me, I can't remember which one. I should really write these things down.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Hoyt Park

Hoyt Park is a park on the near west side of town. It is remarkable for two reasons - it is more or less in the heart of the city, and once you enter the park, you are hardly aware of it, it is so peaceful; the other reason is that it is chock full of hidden treasures: limestone cliffs, fireplaces, an overlook with a breathtaking view of the city's west side. This photo is from one of the park's entrances.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

King's Motel

Madison is, by and large, a beautiful city. This is not a picture of that beauty. But I do like neon, and this picture reminds me of an old film noir. When I went to take this picture, I made sure to have someone with me - this area, as you can imagine, is now a little run down at the heel. I'm sure the King's Motel was a fine family establishment once. Once.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Capital City Bike Path

Madison is a city for cyclists, weather permitting. We have a nice series of dedicated bike paths, and boy, are they in use. This used to be a rail bridge, but when once this set of railroad tracks were decommissioned, the city turned this stretch into a bike path. The Capital City Bike Trail runs through the isthmus, connecting east and west side. This bike trail passes, among other things, the much-debated Monona Terrace Convention Center. My one beef with this trail is that on a beautiful day (such as today), the whole world is on the trail - which is great, until some Lance Armstrong wannabe blows by the "slow" by which I mean every one traveling slower than 30 mph. Time to check the spring bike check up and hit the trails!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Star Food Shop Mural - Willy St

I am back, after having some technical difficulties that prevented me from posting yesterday. This is another Willy St. mural - this one looks pristine because it was restored. The Star Food Shop is no more - there probably hasn't been one for decades. However, on various Willy Street blocks there is a Star Liquor, a Star Books and a Star Photo (I love Star Photo).

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Jolly Bob's Jerk Joint - Willy St.

Yet another in my "stuff painted on the side of buildings on Willy St." series. This is an instance where I wish I had taken this picture in color. Befitting a restaurant specializing in Carribbean cuisine, this building makes use of color. Now that the weather is finally spring-like, I assume the patio will be open. It is an oasis in a busy urban neighborhood. If you find yourself in our fair city, you should definitely stop in. While they no longer carry Jerk Goat on the menu, I guarantee there are plenty of options - and I haven't even mentioned the drink menu!

Monday, April 16, 2007

King Midas Mural - Corner of Williamson and Patterson Streets

In a neighborhood like Willy St., there are hints of its past on the sides of buildings. Yesterday, I posted a photo of its industrial past - here is a hint of its commercial past.
Willy Street still has plenty of stores - photo supply, bookstores, hempen goods, coffee houses, tatoo parlors, etc., but this King Midas Flour mural points to the old neighborhood grocer. The neighborhood grocer may be long gone, but the Willy Street Co-op is thriving and looking for a second location. If you want to see the Willy Street Co-op, go to and check out the Chad Vader shorts. Written and shot here in Madison, The Empire Market is really The Willy Street Co-op!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Madison Candy Co. - Williamson St

This area of Madison was once a manufacturing center of town. Most of the factories are long gone, but hints of its past remain. The former Madison Candy Co. now contains offices and restaurants. A few blocks west, the former Machinery Row now houses a bike shop, offices and a raved-about restaurant. Some people may call it gentrifying, and maybe it is - but the fact is that these former factories were empty for a long time, and as the economy changes, the building use changes. An interesting tidbit - though the Madison Candy Co. is no more, there are several gourmet chocolatiers in Madison. Mmmm....

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Mills Street Garden Statue

I chose today's photo because I miss seeing flowers. I took this last fall on campus. The nice thing about the UW campus is that there are all these little pockets of green space. You can see this from University Avenue, but you have to climb some stairs to get to the garden (this is the part of campus built on Bascom Hill). But it is well worth it. I don't get the statue, though. It is no Phallic Tower of Footballs, as posted by my fellow Madisonian Chris, on the other Madison Daily Photo, but we can't have everything, can we? This statue looks like a cement stalk of romaine lettuce.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Miss Forward, Capitol Square

This is a shot from the top of State Street facing the Capitol Building. The statue, Miss Forward, is the personnification of the state motto "Forward." The official Miss Forward is gilded and rests atop the Capitol Dome, which is one of the most photographed sights in Madison. Nearly every time I am downtown, I see someone standing in the middle of State Street, taking a picture of the Capitol. I was not standing in the middle of State Street, as I fear being hit by a city bus or a speed demon bicyclist (with few exceptions, cars are banned on State Street).

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Window Shopping - State Street

The final photo in my informal "State Street" series. This isn't the current window display, but it is still appropriate, as (theoretically) it is spring. The store was closed, and it was dark, but the lights from the display glowed.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

State Street - Triangle Market

This would be two blocks down from yesterday's picture. The Triangle Market is indeed a tiny, triangle-shaped convenience store. The State Street side of the sign advertises "free tours daily." One day, a friend dared me to go in and ask for a tour. I walked in, asked for a tour, and the cashier pointed to each of the three corners of the triangle and said, "Corner 1, corner 2, corner 3. You've got a triangle." As you may be able to see, three streets intersect - State, Johnson and Henry. Henry Street has two of my favorite places in town - The Plaza Tavern (home of the famous Plaza Burger) and Four Star Video (The. Best. Video. Store. Ever.).

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Orpheum Theatre - State Street

This is a view from the top of State Street, our city's pedestrian mall. The Orpheum was originally a vaudeville theatre - jazz greats like Louis Armstrong and Anita O'Day performed here. Musical acts still perform there, movies are still shown (I recently saw a restored print of Rules of the Game there), and the theatre holds a restaurant and a bar.

Monday, April 9, 2007

The Thing Behind Sterling Hall

Since this is my first day back in school after Spring Break, I thought I'd celebrate by posting a picture I took on campus. What is it? I have no idea. It appears to be some sort of vent, but why it takes this form is a mystery. Is it meant to be decorative? I don't know. It is tucked in a tiny courtyard behind Sterling Hall.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

St Bernard's

In honor of Easter, I thought I would post a picture of a church. This is St. Bernard's, and they throw one heavenly pancake breakfast. I grew up going to a Lutheran church roughly 5 blocks west of this one. Chris and Deb from Minneapolis Daily Photo made a joke referring to Wisconsin's love of the tavern, and that is true, but we seem to place our taverns adjacent to our churches. On this street, there are several neighborhood joints (including one that serves homemade potato chips with some of the best live music around) to go with the 4 or 5 churches nearby. As noticeable as it is in Madison or Milwaukee, it is crazier in the small towns - where the Main Street will have two churches (one Catholic, one Protestant) and two bars.
This is another slightly askew print - you would think that the rubber feet would keep the easel straight, but I have a knack.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Olbrich Beach

As the ice began to melt on Lake Monona, I saw these two girls picking up chunks of ice and helping the process along by throwing them into the lake, breaking up the thin ice. I thought it was such an odd thing to do, so I took a picture.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Starkweather Creek

At least I think this is Starkweather Creek. This is also by the gardens, and Olbrich Park as a whole. Madison is built on an isthmus, so if you can't find a beautiful view, you aren't trying. It was cold the day I took this, and my trusty (but elderly) Pentax Spotmatic became cranky - the shutter stuck a couple of times, but no permanent damage.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Pergola at Olbrich Gardens

Another photo from the gardens. The snow is gone now, but we still have a little while to go before everything is green. When it does, maybe I'll take some of the same pictures to compare.

This one looks a little drunken. The problem is that when I make a perfect print, I tend to give it away. Maybe when I can afford to buy a new box of paper, I'll keep more of the good ones for myself!

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Thai Pavillion - Olbrich Gardens

I know a long list of photographers who come back to Olbrich Gardens time and again to take pictures. The exterior gardens are always open, and there is always something of interest, even during the winter. And, of course, the interior gardens are good during those cabin fever days when you miss the life of spring and summer.

The Thai Pavillion is part of the exterior gardens. A group of Thai graduates of the University of Wisconsin donated the pavillion to thank the city and the University for their time here. It is a stunner. I live by the gardens, and see the pavillion every day; even on the grayest of days, the gold shimmers like nobody's business. I have a lot of pictures, and most of them contain the whole pavillion, but I like the juxtaposition of this glistening exotic structure with the more everyday images of the pre-fab houses from the neighborhood.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Mickey's Tavern - Williamson Street

There are people around here who believe that Madison is Willy St. That isn't true, but there is something about Mickey's. It's unpretentious, but still a bit of a hipster. When I show this picture to my fellow Madisonians, they smile.